No doubt his profile is high right now, and it’s a good time to be Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. Fresh off winning the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach, Riley is now in the mix for head coaching jobs.
South Carolina gave OU fans a real scare with Riley’s name being associated with the Gamecocks earlier this month before SC went with Will Muschamp.
One bullet dodged, but there are going to be others. Riley, so young, though, is he ready to be the guy? Ready to handle all the day-to-day responsibilities?
Absolutely, says someone who would know best.
“Sure, he’s a bright guy,” OU head coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s been around a lot of really good people. When you are around a lot of good people and you’ve had a lot of good experience, you are usually ready for it.”
And Stoops is ready to accept that fate. Stoops knows when things are really humming in Norman that it’s because he has one heck of a coaching staff. That’s why guys like Mike Leach, Kevin Wilson, Kevin Sumlin go on to become the top dog at other programs.
A great assistant isn’t someone who is going to be around forever. It’s just not in the nature of being an assistant, especially if you aspire to more.
For Stoops, that’s not a problem. It’s not frustrating to know that Riley could have been gone with only one season under his belt in Norman. It’s actually a source of pride.
“I take great pride in it,” Stoops said. “Mike Leach was only here nine months or 10 months as well, whatever it was. When I hired Mike, I told him if you do a good job here, I’ll bet within a few years I bet you’ll have a head coaching job. It took 10 months. I want my guys to have the right opportunities and good opportunities and that’s a positive.”
Stoops said he learned from Steve Spurrier when it comes to giving advice about jobs. Spurrier was always quick to tell Stoops to wait for the right one. The first one never a guarantee to be the right one. You’ll know when you know.
Stoops waited and OU came around. That’s worked out pretty well in the understatement of the year. Riley seems content to wait as well as he and his family appear to be loving life in Norman.